by: Ken Lemon Updated:
GASTON COUNTY - Wardell Pressley cried in Gaston County court on Tuesday as a judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison. Pressley stabbed and killed his second cousin Charles Wilson last May.
He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. On Tuesday grief-stricken family members told Eyewitness News reporter Ken Lemon why they accepted the plea deal.
Before his sentencing, Pressley turned to Wilson’s immediate family.
“I’d like to apologize. I had no intentions of hurting anybody,” Pressley said.
Last May Pressley and Wilson got into an argument at the Gastonia home where they lived together for three years.
Pressley, 63, stabbed Wilson in the abdomen with a steak knife. He says he still does not know what happened.
Both men had been drinking heavily. Police say when they arrested Pressley he was so drunk they did not interview him. They did not think anything he said would be reliable.
Wilson spent weeks in the hospital using a breathing tube before he died. His mother told the judge about the last day of his life.
“I stood by his bed and I saw tears roll down his eyes,” said Fannie Wilson.
She said despite her grief she does not believe her son would have wanted there to be a grudge between family members. That is why she supported Pressley’s plea to voluntary manslaughter instead of second-degree murder.
“I forgive him because my son would have wanted me to do that,” said Wilson.
“All families need to love and forgive,” the victim’s brother Terrance Wilson said.
Pressley wiped away tears from his face as the judge sentenced him to the maximum allowed in his case.